Summer Gods at Stage AE
Third Eye Blind, Taking Back Sunday bring 'Summer Gods' tour to Pittsburgh's North Shore on rainy July evening.
Australian Surf Rock duo Hockey Dad (with the help of live bassist Steve Bourke) kicked things off when the Summer Gods Tour came through Pittsburgh on July 13th. Billy Fleming (drums) and Zach Stephenson (vocals/guitar) formed the band in 2013 and went from performing in their parents garage to touring abroad in support of the success of their 2018 release 'Blend Inn'. More recently, they've celebrated the success of their single "Seaweed" hitting platinum status in their home country as well as being the opening act for rock veterans Taking Back Sunday and Third Eye Blind. Songs like "Good Eye" and "Join the Club" were the perfect soundtrack to a summer evening at Stage AE. The city skyline as the backdrop to the outdoor stage was the cherry on top of what was going to be something pretty spectacular.
Raise your hand if you've ever had filled notebooks with lyrics from "Cute Without The 'E' (Cut From The Team)". Or, if you freaked out when they guest starred on your favorite Canadian teen drama, Degrassi: The Next Generation. Then you could imagine my anxiety as I watched the sky turn dark and the stage crew began to cover the floor lights in plastic bags. For the record, the ticket did say ‘RAIN OR SHINE’ and so the show must go on. Anyway, Taking Back Sunday was one of the very first bands to introduce me to the emo scene. To this day, 'Where You Want To Be' remains one of my favorite albums of all-time. I barely caught a bit of their performance at the 2015 Fashion Meets Music Festival in Columbus, so I’ve never actually got to enjoy their set in its entirety. Fortunately for me, I was in for a real treat. They opened with "Tidal Wave” followed by jumping right into the opening track off my beloved WYWTB, "Set Phasers to Stun." Back in the day, there was the feud between Jesse Lacey (frontman of Brand New) and Adam Lazzara, and Brand New trolled TBS by printing "...because mics are for singing not swinging" on some of their merch (mocking Lazzara's famous on-stage mic swinging). I can happily share that not only does he still do it, but it was everything I dreamt it'd be. Be still my little emo heart. Everything was going so well until I started to feel the rain. I made a beeline for the merch tent and paid for the overpriced hoodie I secretly wanted but didn’t want to justify buying. It turned out saving my camera from some of the most spiteful rain I’ve ever seen, and its shelter was the reason I got to stand in the crowd and enjoy the show as a fan and not just a photographer.
Even at a young age, I knew Stephan Jenkins was an iconic songwriter and and to this day, he's yet to disappoint me with Third Eye Blind's impressive catalog, spanning over 20 years. From "Thanks A Lot" and "Dust Storm" (which reminds me of The Cure) to "Faster" and "Crystal Baller" (two of my personal favorites), their set was a refreshing mix of both the old and new, proving that these guys never lost their fire. As the rain began to slow down, Jenkins expressed that while they were approaching the end of their tour, “It feels like it’s just beginning.” He took to the stage solo and serenaded the crowd with an acoustic performance of "Slow Motion" (his first time playing the song live in over 3 years) and “The Background” before the band returned to play fan favorite “Jumper” among others. But it wasn’t until everyone lost their minds at the sound of the drum machine intro to "Semi-Charmed Life," the first of a two-song encore, did Jenkins’ sentiment truly sink in. Before I knew it, they were performing "How's It Going to Be” and it was the perfect send-off after a very wet but happy evening in Pittsburgh.
Remaining Summer Gods Tour Dates:
July 15 Philadelphia, PA The Mann Center
July 16 Mansfield, MA XFINITY Center
July 17 Wantagh, NY Jones Beach Theater
July 21 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena
July 22 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center
July 23 Columbia, MD Merriweather Post Pavilion
July 26 Atlanta, GA Cadence Bank Amphitheatre
July 27 Franklin, TN FirstBank Amphitheater
July 29 Houston, TX White Oak Music Hall
July 30 Del Valle, TX Germania Insurance Amphitheater
July 31 Irving, TX The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory
Aug 1 Oklahoma City, OK The Zoo Amphitheatre
Aug 4 Phoenix, AZ Arizona Federal Theatre
Aug 5 Inglewood, CA YouTube Theater
Aug 11 San Diego, CA Cal Coast Credit Union Amphitheater
Aug 12 Las Vegas, NV Virgin Hotels Las Vegas
Aug 13 Irvine, CA FivePoint Amphitheatre